Team17 and Fireproof Games have announced that The Room - a BAFTA award-winning puzzler originally released on smartphones in 2012 - is coming to Nintendo Switch.
The game is described as "a physical puzzler wrapped inside a mystery game where you are transported into a unique space". Its blurb tells us that a mysterious invitation leads the player to the attic of an abandoned house. In the room is a cast-iron safe laced with strange carvings and, on top, a note from your distant companion. It promises something ancient and astonishing concealed in the iron chamber, and it's your job to find a way in.
Hoping to learn a little more about the game and the reasons behind bringing it over to Nintendo's latest console, we sat down for a chat with Barry Meade, Commercial Director at developer Fireproof Games. Check it out below.
Nintendo Life: Congratulations on the upcoming release on Switch! Would you mind introducing the team and sharing what Fireproof Games is all about?
Barry Meade: Thanks, we’re really looking forward to see Switch players' reactions to the game. Fireproof are an independent team based in the game development hub of Guildford, UK. We basically really enjoy making games in our own way, exploring themes we love and blindly hope other players out there will like our work as much as we do.
For those who might not have played The Room before, could you give us a quick overview of the game?
Sure. It’s a new kind of puzzle game taking place in an unsettling, magical version of our world that looks recognisable but is still in touch with old Gods and old powers. The Room is a sort of portal to this world, which the player accesses by manipulating bizarre machines or objects, using realistic physics to solve puzzles. By besting each challenge, the player affects time and space and gets ever closer to the unseen mystery – or danger – at the centre of it all.
The Room series has sold over 10 million copies which is extremely rare for a paid mobile game.
The Room was first released on mobile around six years ago now. What inspired the decision behind a Switch port after all this time?
A few reasons really. Firstly, The Room’s gameplay of interacting with strange machines is specifically designed for touchscreens like the Switch has, and translates super well to the Joy-Con controller motion functionality to boot. So the Nintendo Switch is really the only console that can play our game mechanics perfectly as intended and that was a huge factor. Secondly, we’re inspired to put our game on a Nintendo device as we feel our values of craftsmanship and player delight are very aligned with that platform and audience. Third, the Switch version is not a port of the original but has been completely rebuilt with new, much higher resolution visuals so ultimately this will be the best version of The Room available on any format.
Has bringing the game to Switch been relatively straightforward, or have there been any bumps along the road?
Any release takes real work to do well but the process for Switch has been mercifully smooth. Smaller indies like us can often experience difficulty when developing on console but the Switch has been very straightforward to develop for. So if Switch players take to the game we’d be delighted to bring our other titles in the series to the platform too. So far everything has gone great.
The game makes use of a one-touch control scheme on mobile. Will this be the same on Switch, and how will the game work when played on the TV, for example?
Honestly, this is why we saw The Room as being so uniquely perfect for Switch. As the game mechanics were created for touchscreen, the native mode of The Room is also the native mode on Switch. In just the same way, switching to use the Joy-Con as a pointer for TV is the same one-to-one control as using your finger on the touchscreen. On mobile, some puzzles required two fingers to complete so we’ve improved them to work with the finer control the Switch Joy-Con allows, so now playing through using either touchscreen or pointer mode is a breeze.
You’ve teamed up with Team17 to publish the game on Switch. Was this to utilise Team17’s ever-growing experience with the platform?
Exactly that, yes. We’re a small team and are inexperienced with publishing on consoles so we looked to Team17 to bridge that gap in our knowledge and, hopefully, make us a better team for it. We’ve had nothing but good experiences so far and are jazzed to see what joining forces can bring to our players and the game.
When The Room does make its way to Switch, what are your biggest hopes and ambitions for the title’s success?
We’re a simple lot; we get gassed when players like our work – that’s what keeps us going. Really we just hope Switch users will click with what we’re trying to do. Our ideal scenario is that we get enough players liking the game to justify us bringing all our Room titles to Switch. And from there, who knows? We’ll have a new fan base to think for and about when designing new games. So we hope The Room on Switch goes down well enough to affect our long-term plans!
Can we expect to see anything in the game that is exclusive to Switch, or will this be the same experience that players can find on mobile?
A comparison of screenshots of the original mobile title with the new Switch game shows how radically different it is. We are very motivated by fine visuals and every asset in The Room Switch has been rebuilt from the ground up as, to us, we’d be idiots not to take advantage of the graphical grunt of a modern console. Also, the DLC for the original game has been weaved into the Switch version to extend game content by about 25%. Coupled with the joyous Joy-Con pointer control system, we’re very happy that Switch users are getting the best version of the game to date.
If you had to describe The Room in just one word, what would it be?
Any final words you’d like to share with our readers, or particular things to look out for when playing the game?
First off, just enjoy it! We would then ask any of your readers that play our game to get in touch with Fireproof Games over Twitter, Facebook or email ([email protected]) and tell us what they think. We really want to understand what motivates them, what they want to see in a Switch game, so we can learn and grow as developers.
We'd like to thank Barry for his time. The Room launches as a console exclusive on Nintendo Switch on 18th October for $9.99 / £6.99 / €8.99. Let us know your thoughts on the title below, and make sure to send your feedback to the team after the game's launch!